Books For You: The Bombay Plan: Blueprint for Economic Resurgence

Editor | Non-fiction

‘A Plan of Economic Development for India’, aka the Bombay Plan, written in two parts and published in 1944 and 1945, generated widespread interest in India and abroad at the time of its publication. Its authors were none other than J.R.D Tata, G.D Birla, Purushottamdas Thakurdas, Kasturbhai Lalbhai, Ardeshir Dala, Lala Sri Ram, John Mathai, and A.D. Shroff—well-known business leaders and technocrats of repute.

The Plan is unique in the history of post-colonial development. Nowhere in the developing world did a group of business leaders come together to articulate such a comprehensive vision for national development that simultaneously promoted their own class interests. Nowhere did the capitalist business class voluntarily invite State control in key sectors.

This book revisits the Bombay Plan to show how it was not only prescient in its approach to development, but was also influential in shaping economic planning and public policy in the first decade after India’s independence. It brings together leading voices from Indian industry and academia—Meghnad Desai, Sanjaya Baru, Amal Sanyal, Gita Piramal, Omkar Goswami, R. Gopalakrishnan, Tulsi Jayakumar, Ajay Chhibber, and P.S. Lokanathan—in an effort to evaluate and understand the significance of the Plan in setting the development planning agenda laid out by successive governments.

The Bombay Plan (Published by Rupa, Pages 264, Price 500) brings back to focus a historic document that has been all but forgotten despite its many path-breaking ideas.

About the authors

Sanjaya Baru has been editor of India’s major financial newspapers, The Economic Times, Financial Express, and Business Standard. He was Media Advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Director for Geo-economics and Strategy, International Institute of Strategic Studies, London.

Meghnad Desai sits as a Labour Peer in the House of Lords. He is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is the Chairman of the Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics in Mumbai since June 2015. He was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Puraskar by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in January 2004 and the Padma Bhushan by former President Pratibha Patil in 2008.

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